Words from past to future at Wodonga Mann's site

THE site of the Mann family’s first store in Wodonga will be flattened by March next year in anticipation of work starting on a $60 million shopping centre.

In 1921, Jonathan Mann bought a small block in High Street and financed his sons Ernest and Bob to run a grain store, which had an incarnation in the early 1970s as a shopping centre with several tenants.

The building was later occupied by Highpoint furniture store before closing in 2009.

Joss Construction has begun a $670,000 demolition contract of the former Highpoint store and buildings formerly occupied by a homewares and garden sections in preparation for the replacement shopping centre including a supermarket and discount department store.

The expansion of the homeware and garden sections took place in the mid-1980s judging by a discovery this week by Joss employees, including site manager Clint Burgmann.

They found a note near the South Street entrance left by builders “Alf and Tony” which read “Hope you have fun pulling this down”. It was dated October 29, 1985.

Project manager Brett McClellan said between 80 to 90 per cent of materials on the Mann site would be recycled in conjunction with Albury Demolitions.

“Basically we will have the site flattened by early March,” he said.

“We are pulling it down in a fashion where a good portion of the materials can be recycled.

“It is an economically and environmentally better way of doing it.”

Concrete will also be crushed and recycled as part of the job.

A former industrial, steel, timber and rural division on the South and Hovell streets corner of the Mann site disappeared about six years ago and was already cleared.

The Mann shopping centre is awaiting Wodonga Council approval of an updated planning permit submitted in late November.

If granted it will be of similar size to the 17,000 square metre Wodonga Plaza.

Mann Properties had earlier approval for a 24,631 square metre shopping centre including 6500 square metre “anchor” retailer before the decision to downsize the development was made late last year.

The Victorian government and Wodonga Council have committed spending $2.1 million and $4.3 million on supporting infrastructure works.

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